—The New York Review of Books
—The Huffington Post
“How interesting can a snail be? Entirely captivating, as it turns out. [Bailey] is a marvelous writer, and the marriage of science and poetic mysticism that characterizes this small volume is magical.”
John Burroughs Medal Award
William Saroyan International Prize for Nonfiction
Excerpt from Chapter 2: Discovery
"Each evening the snail awoke and with astonishing poise moved gracefully to the rim of the pot and peered over, surveying the strange country that lay ahead. Pondering its circumstance with a regal air, as if from the turret of a castle, it waved its tentacles first this way and then that, as though responding to a distant melody."
Elisabeth Tova Bailey tells the inspiring and intimate story of her uncommon encounter with a Neohelix albolabris—a common forest snail. While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches as the snail takes up residence on her nightstand. She discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of the interconnections between species and her own human place in the natural world. Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making ability, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, providing a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this overlooked and underappreciated small animal. Told with wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence.
Image from the book trailer
The photo on the left of a forest snail (Genus Neohelix) is a still from the trailer. If you would like to use it as a screen saver, right click on the photo and select "Save linked file."